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Panasonic partners with biometrics firm for cabin services

Panasonic Avionics has formed a strategic partnership with start-up biometrics specialist Tascent to bring iris recognition technology into the airports and the passenger cabins of commercial aircraft.

Earlier this year, the in-flight entertainment giant talked about interest in using biometric recognition tools to improve the passenger experience, using seat-back cameras to identify the mood and even the health of passengers in the coach cabin. If visual cues suggest a passenger is feeling dehydrated, for example, the system would cue a flight attendant to offer the passenger a bottle of water.

Although that technology remains a distant goal, Panasonic formed the non-exclusive relationship with Tascent to explore more immediate routes to introducing biometric technology, Panasonic officials tell FlightGlobal. Iris recognition could be used as a tool in airport security and immigration checkpoints, for example.

“With this agreement, Panasonic and Tascent will create unique offerings that use biometrics to personalize the in-flight experience and beyond. We look forward to working with Tascent on a host of capabilities that will take the traveler journey to new heights,” says Chris Lundquist, vice-president of corporate strategic initiatives at Panasonic Avionics.

The partnership was announced as Pansasonic continues to search for launch customers for the pending Next platform for in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Although Next is targeted for introduction on the Boeing 777X, the technology is offered for all widebody cabins, says David Bruner, vice-president of world wide sales and marketing.

Pansonic is in final negotiations with four airlines to launch the Next platform, he says.

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